Business, individuals open their hearts, wallets at fair
Photos from the 2011 Rock County 4-H Fair taken by Gazette photographers.
JANESVILLE Some fairs are remembered for their weather.
The year it was so hot or so wet or so muggy that nobody wanted to go to the fair.
Other fairs are remembered for their performers.
The year Chubby Checker or Willie Nelson or ’N Sync or Garth Brooks came to the fair.
This year, however, the Rock County 4-H Fair might be remembered for something much more important: generosity.
The fair ended Sunday night. Attendance through Saturday night totaled 49,576 visitors.
A small but important portion of those fair visitors came to support youth exhibitors by opening their hearts and their wallets.
-- The totals from Friday’s meat animal sale have been adjusted upward from $408,000 to $419,997, said Randy Thompson, UW Extension dairy and livestock agent. That’s up from the previous record sale amount of $350,000. In addition, there were fewer animals for sale than the last record year.
Bidders included local businesses, individuals, 4-H and FFA supporter groups.
-- Totals from Saturday’s Fur and Feather Sale are not in yet, but the sale included a variety of new buyers that infused life into the event.
“All the kids went out of the ring smiling,” said Thompson.
-- Businesses and individuals spent $25,000 on 14 animals in the dairy recognition auction. Dairy animals are not entered in the meat animal sale, and half of the proceeds from each sale go to the individual who showed the animal. The other half goes to support scholarships, support for the dairy judging team and support for kids showing at the state fair, Thompson said.
“Annually, that money touches more than 100 kids,” Thompson said.
-- When money from the sales is all added up, Thompson expects the total to be close to $500,000.
“That’s pretty impressive,” Thompson said.
Now consider some specific examples of that generosity:
-- Bethany Sly, 16, of Avon 4-H, donated the money from the sale of her 266-pound Duroc to the family of Clay Spooner.
Clay’s parents, Doug and Cindy Spooner, both 40, of Brodhead were killed in a car accident on March 5. Clay, 12, was badly injured.
When a paperwork mix-up disqualified Clay’s barrow from the fair, 16-year-old Sly decided she would donate the money from the sale of her pig to the Spooner family.
A & H Trucking of Footville bought Sly’s 266-pound Duroc barrow for $15 per pound, or $3,990.
Then the Rock County Pork Producers Association raised more than $1,400 and bought the pig Clay couldn’t show. The pig will be processed and the meat donated to the family.
-- At Saturday’s Fur and Feather sale, members of the community reached out to members of the Paul Pope family. Paul J. Pope, 47, was killed in an accident earlier this year. Bidders paid approximately $1,000 each for the roaster pens shown by Payton Pope and Carli Pope.
A roaster pen contains two chickens.